Wednesday, October 07, 2015


All glory comes from daring to begin.
-       Anonymous
Ninety-nine percent of life is showing up.
    -         Woody Allen

A Small Stone

A teacher once said something that has remained with me ever since. What he said comes up in every life situation that requires ‘action’ (which often is no action). Whenever I need to take on anything new or focus to make myself better (heal the world, write a great novel, or lose five pounds) I remember his words.
It happened during my first yoga workshop. It rained in torrents the entire week of the workshop. I mention this because it mirrored the intensity of the hours we spent soaking up a deluge of knowledge and information from this exceptional teacher.
          Each practice began with three OM’s and a Sanskrit invocation that they say if practiced twelve thousand times makes it’s meaning clear. I’ve been practicing it ever since and I have no idea if that is twelve thousand times. I never counted but it counts to me that I do it.
Physical work was intertwined with knowledge and information that was braided with insight into the mental body, the emotional body, the psychological body and the spiritual body. The teaching was complex and stitched into a formative experience for me. There were anecdotes that transcend the telling but seeped way in. The lesson of the ‘worthwhile’: it is earned with sweat. Nothing heartfelt or worth having is gotten without toil. Ultimately, the greatest pleasures of life are earned this way.
At the end of the workshop someone asked our teacher how to practice, how to start and how long to practice once you get started. The teacher was eating some dried fruit and nuts and continued chewing for a few moments (a typical Yogi) before he spoke.
“If you go out and try to pick up a big rock, or a boulder, you will struggle to lift it and to throw it any distance.” He paused again and then went on:
“If you go out and pick up a small stone and toss it, you will throw that small stone a great distance; a much greater distance than the big boulder.”
This wisdom over years keeps gathering weight and meaning. This idea of the small stone became a boulder, a solid reliable rock. I remember when my son who was learning to walk: he was four years old and defying the prognosis that he might never walk. It was one small step at a time. He walks.
Let us gather inward the best parts of ourselves. That means working on giving our self things beside ourselves; new endeavors; continuing to be the best we can be. It begins with one small step, one small stone. Instead of a heave ho, try a toss.